Wednesday, April 27, 2016

our family of six.

I have four kids. That is kind of crazy. My mom has four kids. I still feel like, "Who's kids are all these?' Oh, they're mine. We've been a family of six for half a year. And maybe, just maybe we are getting used to it. We aren't good at it, by any means, but we sure do love it.

So how are we in April 2016? Pretty good.

In April 2016, Carly is doing great in first grade. After being behind in reading and needing to go to "book club" as they kindly called it, she has since caught right on up and no longer needs the extra daily help. She likes math, science, and art, but seems to care less about writing. She likes to "learn about ancient things" and about other countries. She can read books to John and Quinn. She had her first "late-over" with a friend from school who lives two houses down. She is silly and imaginative and full of life. She is a leader, but she can be bossy too. I make it a point to make sure she's learning the difference, because her leadership skills and the way she draws people to her can be used for so much good. She's spunky and all fun with Quinn and John, so I didn't expect her to be so sweet and completely smitten by Owen. They have a very special relationship, and I love how he brings out her soft side. She loves her daddy, and I pray she'll always turn to him and talk to him the way she does now. The first grade has brought on so many new conversations and it has me bracing for the coming years as life for her gets increasingly complicated. But I'm so grateful for the kid she is now, because shes a really great kid.

In April 2016, Quinn is beautiful and bouncy and fancy and sparkly and pink. She has been in dance class this year and it is the highlight of her week (and, quite possibly, her life). She is actually quite graceful, which I guess shouldn't surprise me but if you've ever seen me or Chris or even Carly dance, you'd notice Quinn was an impressive contrast. A few months ago I got her evaluated for her speech. Quinn has a sweet squeaky little voice. And she has a LOT to say. The trouble is, you can't understand a lot of what she is saying. It was getting to the point where she was frustrated, and sometimes her translators (John and Carly) couldn't even understand. So she qualified right away for speech therapy. She's been going once a week. Her class is just perfect for her: two other little girls and a young fun speech pathologist named Britney. We have fun practicing the sounds, and I'm so impressed by her ability to learn and adapt. Quinn likes "fancy things", and has strong opinions on what she wears. I've all but caved and her wardrobe is just about completely shades of pink and purple. She's loves her siblings. She and John are the best best friends. And she adores Owen. Her heart is as sparkly as her shoes.

In April 2016, John is very very . . . John. John is man's man. I often walk into the kids room or into the living room to find an arsenal lined up beautifully on his bed or the couch: light sabers, crossbow, chainsaw, hammer and wrench. Its slightly disconcerting, but endearing at the same time. John can be entertained for an extended period of time with two random objects he pretends are Star Wars space ships. This happened when he got his hands on two bottles of nail polish, except when he slammed them into each other one exploded, leaving red fingernail polish all over the carpet. John is a considerate and loving kid. Once on the way to speech Quinn was talking about how she wanted to play Barbies, and sometimes she could but sometimes she couldn't. As we watched her walk in, John sighed and said, "I really hope Quinn gets to play Barbies today." Oh, my heart. He loves Star Wars, yard work, getting his haircut ("shortcut" as he calls it) with his daddy, Pullman Building Supply, and Owen (I think there is a trend of fondness for Owen). I think little boys are one of my favorite things, and this one is one of the best.

In April 2016, Owen is the perfect piece to our puzzle. Oh my heck, he is the cutest thing ever in the history of the world. We are all smitten. I mean, he's been around for 6 months and all 5 of us spend half our time oooing and ahhhing over him. Will his novelty wear off? I can't handle him. He likes to grab faces and drool on everything. He laughs when Carly plays peek-a-boo, and gives amused smiles to John and Quinn's entertaining efforts. He often watches them like he'd give anything to keep up with them. He'll kick his legs like he wants to run, and he likes being wrestled and tickled by the daddy monster just like the big kids do. He is everything good. Our hearts are overflowing. And if the happiness in his eyes when he looks at us is any indication, he likes us back. As cliche as it might be, I don't know how we ever lived without him.

In April 2016, Chris and Erin are a hot mess. Chris's job is going well. He's had a lot of positive and exciting things happen in the last year, including a brand-spanking-new lab which is near completion and a new major proposition to start up in the fall. I've been slowly getting my feet back under me post-baby. Four kids is a lot of kids. Babies are a lot of work. Life is hectic. Kids, job, housework, yard work, and callings all beg for our attention. Tiny people sneak into our bed at night, cry for our attention every waking moment. Our life is so full of chaos. We don't sleep, our budget is tight, we can't go on that 10th anniversary trip we were thinking about, and when is the last time we even went on a date? But I have to say: life is so so beautiful. What a wonderful phase to be living, soaking up every minute with these people we have been entrusted with. We have each other and we have them. I have him and every second I thank my lucky stars that I do. Our kids bring us so much joy. Our little home is bursting with noise and energy and happiness. We have a favorite song that has kind of become "ours". The lyrics say, "The sound of little feet [is] the music we dance to week to week." These little feet are the symphony of our lives, and there is no one else I'd rather be dancing with.

{All these pictures were taken in Idaho at the beginning of April. The whole Thomas family got together, and it was wonderful. So naturally we needed pictures. Here's a few favorites from the whole crew:}

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